A new student organization for LGBT equality and justice on Catholic campuses was launched yesterday, October 11th, National Coming Out day. Thomas A. Lloyd, a Georgetown University student and organizer of the new group announced the launch on the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog:
Today the leaders of several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) student groups based on Catholic college campuses sent a joint letter to the Catholic world announcing the founding of CASE, the Catholic Association of Students for Equality. CASE is a national network for all of our groups to share resources and to trade experiences. CASE’s central goal, however, is to raise awareness of the positive impact that recognition and empowerment of the LGBT community has had on our campuses. Our experiences reveal a pro-LGBT rights position grounded in Catholic values. In other words, we hope to “out” a uniquely Catholic argument for LGBT inclusion.
Lloyd identifies Catholic social teaching and Scriptural principles as the basis for his own acceptance of his sexual identity and the desire to help others achieve the same level of self-acceptance:
“As a practicing Catholic, someone who delivers a rehearsed response to ‘What’s that black stuff on your forehead?’ every Lenten season, I was raised surrounded by Catholic social teaching. I value the life and dignity of every human person, and I believe their dignity comes from ‘the persons they are’ (Centesimus annus., #11). I know that we are called to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering (Corinthians 12:12-26). And finally, I believe that we have a duty to love, and that it is the ‘fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.’ (Catechism 2392).
“These building blocks of Catholic social teaching are integral parts of how I have engaged my LGBT identity. Identifying as gay first required me to reflect on who I truly was. It helps me stand in solidarity with those who are oppressed, as I have faced threats in the street, and taunts from schoolmates. And one day, I will be able to love someone because I have acknowledged who it is I can really fall in love with.”
Similarly, CASE is designed to help LGBT students on Catholic campuses to organize themselves for better lives at their schools:
“Today, Georgetown along with the other colleges that recognize their LGBT groups, including Loyola University Maryland, DePaul University and Loyola Marymount are in a privileged position. We live on campuses that acknowledge the value in exploring the intersection of LGBT and Catholic identities. We have a duty to “out” all the good that we have done in order to change the national conversation. We need to change the minds of those in the church who would argue that LGBT groups have no place on Catholic campuses and to encourage those in schools affected by this position to “come out” and to start forming their own LGBT network on campus. We can help promote the respect you deserve, we will stand in solidarity with you, and want to help people understand our love. That is why we formed CASE.”
Kudos and best wishes to Lloyd and his fellow organizers! New Ways Ministry has been compiling a list of gay-friendly Catholic colleges for many years now, which includes almost half of the Catholic campuses in the U.S. It will be a gift to the church for students to help each other support and strengthen their programs and policies on these campuses and spread the message of acceptance and inclusion to other Catholic schools as well.